blog stats
NumberFix: Summarizing Math Vocabulary with "The Important Book"

A Writing Across the Curriculum Lesson from NumberFix
Math Topic: any Students Write: an illustrated paragraph about math topics

Navigating WritingFix:

WritingFix Homepage

NumberFix Homepage

Writing Across the Curriculum Homepage

Writing for Math Class:
Summarizing Mathematical Learning with The Important Book

This writing across the curriculum lesson was written by NumberFix Coordinator, Holly Young, who designed it for students in grades 3-12. Check out Holly's Making Mathematicians website.

This lesson was proposed to NumberFix using this template. If you have a math/mentor text lesson you'd like to have published, fill out the template and send it to Holly Young, our NumberFix Coordinator: We'll send you an NNWP Print Publication if we post your lesson here!

Lesson Overview & Objective:

By imitating the format of The Important Book, students will write create an illustrated paragraph on a particular math topic. Extension: Students use the important book format to brainstorm previous knowledge on a topic and knowledge after learning a topic. Students create pages similar to those in The Important Book comparing their knowledge before and after learning a topic.

Students will be able to summarize concepts learned and rank their importance. Extension: Students will explore how much they have learned on a particular topic.

Writing skills (traits) to stress while teaching this lesson:

  • Idea Development (putting learned information and research into one's own words)
  • Word Choice (using mathematical vocabulary words correctly)
  • Conventions (using correct spelling, especially of mathematic vocabulary words from their research)

Materials List:

  • The Important Book by Margaret Wise Brown
  • Student Samples--see below
  • A frame you can show student writers, like the one below:

(click image to see it larger)

Teacher Instructions:

  • Read The Important Book by Margaret Wise Brown. Before reading, ask students to listen for “a formula” on how the pages are written and illustrated.
  • Assign students a topic (or topics) and ask them to write and illustrate a page (or pages) following the important book format. Make sure to provide clear criteria for each page, such as each page will include 2 vocabulary words and an explanation of their meaning or there must be at least five characteristics written for the topic assigned.
  • Make sure students read and give feedback to one another before making a final copy.
  • A compilation can be made putting student work together.
Decorated Important Book paragraphs from a geometry class:
Click on the images to see them in larger form.


Lesson Extension Ideas:

  • Ask students to brainstorm a topic before learning by writing a small page out of The Important Book with existing knowledge, then re-write the page after learning the subject. I recommend providing a graphic organizer in which I scaffold that students only need to have 3 characteristics of a new topic before learning while they must provide 5 or more characteristics after learning. Here is a Microsoft Word version of the same graphic organizer, so that you can type in the mathematical topic(s) you are having students write about.
  • Have students create Before/After pages for an Important Book passage on the learning objectives. The page will have the basic format of the following: I used to think the most important thing about ______ was ________, but now I know the most important thing about ______ is ________. “The topic” is also ______, etc. (see student work)
  • Have students share their pages. Have the class try to find the most unusual first impression.


Examples from the Extension Assignment:

Crissey, 6th grader

Crissey's cover

Crissey's first page

Crissey's second page
Click on the images to see them in larger form.

Examples from the Extension Assignment:

Elizabeth, 6th grader

Elizabeth's decorated page
Click on the image to see them in larger form.



WritingFix Homepage NumberFix Homepage  Writing Across the Curriculum Homepage
© WritingFix. All rights reserved.